The second annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge was held on the Minneapolis campus on October 22, 2010, with teams representing undergraduate and graduate divisions from across the University of St. Thomas. More than 66 business concepts were entered by teams comprising one to three persons, with four teams in each of the graduate and undergraduate divisions taking home scholarships ranging from $10,000 per person to $1,000 per person.
"I can not begin to tell you how memorable this competition will be for us," said one of the winners, Susan Wuollet, "and how potentially life changing it may be.
"When Michael and I entered our idea for the Styptic Fibrin Bandage, we thought it was a good idea in concept...after hearing the feedback and the encouragement to pursue it, Michael and I have decided to futher explore this idea.
"Through the competition, we were able to make some fantastic connections...We already have our first potential angel investor.
"In addition to the excitement of what may come from this idea, the immediate benefit of the $10,000 scholarship we each received is a wonderful surprise. Having both of us in graduate school has been a huge financial strain for the two of us, and this scholarship could not be more timely."
Focused on energizing the entrepreneurial spirit of UST students across campuses and colleges, the Fowler Business Concept Challenge asks students to develop a business concept that has the potential to become a viable, high-growth business. The teams that submit the winning business concept in each of two divisions (undergraduate and graduate) receive University of St. Thomas scholarships.
Concepts were judged on their originality, clear and compelling value proposition, competitive advantage, market opportunity and feasibility by a panel of judges drawn from the business community and St. Thomas faculty, including Ron Fowler; Ben Anderson, founder and CEO of Cinemtion; Jan Hildebrandt of 3M; Susan Johnson, founder and CEO of Magellan Medical Technology; and other leading entrepreneurs. The award scholarships were made possible by generous contributions from 3M and Ron Fowler.
The Fowler Business Concept Challenge was open to all UST students registered for the fall 2010 semester, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
This year’s winners include:
- Susan Wuollet and Michael Wuollet - First Place, Graduate Division ($10,000 scholarship each) for their concept, the Styptic Fibrin Bandage.
- Matthew Scott and Sarah Tinsman - First Place, Undergraduate Division ($10,000 scholarship each) for their concept, Student Frenzy.
- Cyrus Zaeske and Kelsey Nelson - Second Place, Graduate Division ($5,000 scholarship each) for their concept, TripRoamer.
- Michael Weiss - Second Place, Undergraduate Division ($5,000 scholarship) for his concept, Aakari.
- Scott Clute - Third Place, Graduate Division ($2,500 scholarship) for his concept, The Curvy Bride.
- Lukasz Wlosiak and Paul Armstrong - Third Place, Undergraduate Division ($2,500 scholarship each) for their concept, Global Doc.
- Ryan Edstrom - Fourth Place, Graduate Division ($1,000 scholarship) for his concept, Insti-Park.
- Solome Tibebu Fourth Place, Undergraduate Division ($1,000 scholarship) for her concept, Tools for Schools.
- Also winning $1,000 scholarships each were Scott Clute for best presenter in the Graduate Division and Michael Weiss for best presenter in the Undergraduate Division.